Niagara Falls

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					                                      Niagara Falls

   I. Introduction

       Niagara Falls is one of the world’s seven natural wonders and marks an international

boundary between the United State and Canada. The American city was incorporated on the

south side of the Falls, on March 17, 1892.1 Since its days of economic success, Niagara Falls

has gradually sunk into economic and environmental poverty. Large industries have left the city,

leaving brownfields and unemployment in their wake.             The tragedy of Love Canal has

permanently tarnished the environmental reputation of the city. Quick-fix improvement plans to

revitalize the city, such as building a large casino and hotel, have failed to bring their promised

economic benefits to the city and have instead resulted in significant social losses.

       Niagara Falls, led by Mayor Paul Dyster, is addressing its economic, social and

environmental concerns.      It is creating and implementing several plans, which will truly

revitalize the city, bringing back economic and environmental health to Niagara Falls. To further

these goals, and for their organization’s growth, the board of Carolyn’s House and the Women

Children and Social Justice Clinic of the University at Buffalo School of Law propose creating

an urban farm on a vacant lot in the city which has been generously donated to Carolyn’s House.

   II. Economy

       Between the years 1890 until 1910, Niagara Falls was at the forefront of great thinking,

planning and debate regarding the future.2 Entrepreneurs and engineers alike focused on Niagara

Falls due to the potential amount of waterpower that could be generated.3 It was “predicted that

Niagara’s waterpower would make it the greatest manufacturing center in the world.”4 By the

end of the 19th century, Niagara Falls was a heavily industrialized area and flooded by thousands

of immigrants.5

       In 1946, over 36,000 people were employed in Niagara Falls by factories and eight

hotels.6 Sixty years later, the city has steadily declined in the later half of the 20th century. Over

the past four decades, the City of Niagara Falls has suffered from economic and industrial

decline, and serious employment and population loss.7

           a. Demographics

       In 2000, there were 55,593 people (14,266 families) living in the City of Niagara Falls. 8

Males account for 46.8% of the population and females 53.2%.9 Of the 55,000-plus, the average

age is 38 years.10 The largest age group is 18-65 years old. Of that group, 37,186 are aged 25

years or older and of those over 25, only 4,658 have a Bachelor’s Degree or higher.11

       The racial makeup of the city was 76.2% percent White, 18.7% Black or African

American, 2.0% Latino, 1.6% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 0.7% other races, and 2.0%

identified with two or more races.12 Over 2,800 are immigrants and almost 4,000 speak a

language other than English at home.13

                    i. Household

       There are 27,836 houses in Niagara Falls, 24,101 that are occupied.14 Of the occupied

households, 13,9902 are owner-occupied and 10,199 are rental units.15 This is 42% of the area

population, comparable to the State rental percent at 47%.16 Vacant houses account for 3,738 of

the housing units in Niagara Falls.17

       In 2000, the average household size in Niagara Falls was 2.27 people and the average

family size was 2.96.18 Single parent households occurred at a rate of 13.5% of the households.19

The Niagara Falls rate of married family homes, 31.5%, is relatively low when compared with

other counties in New York State.20

       The median income for a Niagara Falls household was $26,800 while the median income

per family was $34,377.21 Including those 16 years of age and older, 24,786 people were in the

workforce.22 Over 2,200 families and 10,700 individuals live below the poverty level according

to the 2000 Census.23 According to 1999 numbers gathered by the Regional Network, 19% of

Niagara City’s inhabitants have an income below the poverty line, but an overwhelming 47% of

people living there earned under $25,000 a year.24

                  ii. Employment

       Niagara County has the second highest unemployment rate of the eight Western New

York counties.25 The city of Niagara Falls has a 10% unemployment rate itself.26

       A variety of occupations are practiced in Niagara falls; 28% of workers hold office or

sales positions, 24% of workers hold professional jobs, 21% of workers have jobs in

transportation or productions, 17% of workers are in the service industry, and nearly 8% of

workers are employed in construction and maintenance jobs.27 Over 60% of the Seneca Niagara

Casino’s employees reside in Niagara County.28 Because only one percent of Niagara Falls

workers work in the agricultural field, an urban farm would help diversify the community and

introduce new skills into Niagara Fall’s workforce.

            b. Businesses

        Historically, the city’s economy centered on factories that utilized hydropower provided

by the Falls for energy.29 The city declined in the later half of the 20th century for various

reasons, most notably corrupt government, high wages in comparison to the rest of the country,

strong unions, and high taxes.30       Manufacturers found it was cheaper to produce goods

elsewhere.31 Based on 2002 data, there are currently only 57 manufacturing companies in

Niagara Falls, including chemical and industrial.32 The capital-intensive nature of chemical and

other heavy industries in Niagara Falls has made it next to impossible for former employees to

start their own companies and as a result, closures have not led to new businesses or related spin-

off activity.33

                  i. 2008 Executive Budget Proposal

        The January 2008 Executive Budget Proposal implemented by Governor Spitzer

allocated a portion of the $350 million Regional Blueprint Fund to market Upstate New York

aggressively in Canada and open a new international marketing office within the Upstate Empire

State Development Corporation.

        The governor's executive budget extended the Power for Jobs and Energy Cost Savings

Benefit program through June 30, 2009. The governor also recommended implementing a new

energy program on July 1, 2009 to reward companies with the greatest commitment to job

creation and energy efficiency with seven-year contracts.

        The governor's executive budget delivered $50 million more in Aid and Incentives to

Municipalities (AIM) than last year's budget. It would provide increases ranging from three to

nine percent to cities, towns and villages. The maximum nine percent increase would be go to

seventeen upstate cities and villages that meet the fiscal stress criteria under the AIM program.

       Furthermore, Governor Spitzer allocated $8 million to revitalize the West Mall of Old

Falls Street as part of his City-by-City economic plan. It will make the 50-acres outside of

Niagara Falls State Park, the Seneca Niagara Casino and the Conference Center Niagara Falls

more attractive to tourists and businesses.

               ii. 500 New “Green Collar” Manufacturing Jobs Coming to Niagara Falls

       Empire State Development (ESD) and the New York Power Authority (NYPA) have

announced a major economic development package for Niagara County, which will bring an

estimated 500 new "green collar" jobs to the area. The package includes a major allocation of

low-cost hydropower from the Niagara Power Project that will serve as the linchpin for the

reopening and expansion of manufacturing facilities of Globe Specialty Metals, Inc. (Globe) in

Niagara Falls. ESD and NYPA partnered to develop an incentive package for Globe, a leader in

the silicon manufacturing that is used to create solar panels.

       While the solar industry is the highest growth sector in the CleanTech cluster and is

currently experiencing a large influx of investment and expansion, the vast majority of solar

technologies require purified silicon, which is extremely scarce. Several major solar panel

manufacturers have inquired about the availability of the material in conjunction with locating

new plants. Since that time, ESD has been engaging silicon producers in an attempt to leverage

New York's hydropower assets to produce silicon and build new facilities to help meet that


               iii. Globe Specialty Metals

       Globe Specialty Metals promises to locate in Niagara Falls, spending $60 million to

reconfigure the existing metallurgical-grade silicon plant on Highland Avenue, which closed in

2003. Globe will re-open the existing facility in Niagara Falls and invest in upgrading the

equipment to produce approximately 30,000 tons of metallurgical grade silicon annually. In

addition, it will build a new 100,000+ square foot facility in Niagara Falls to convert their

metallurgical grade silicon into 4,000 tons of Solar Grade silicon - enough to produce 500MW of

solar power. This raw material is used in solar products. Local production of silicon is expected

to entice photovoltaic and solar product manufacturers to open facilities in Western New York.

       The project would revive distressed brown field areas in Niagara Falls, and Globe

proposes to earmark a quarter of its production to induce a solar panel manufacturer to the area.

The state would gain a significant advantage: the state would have the ability to offer twenty-five

percent of what Globe is manufacturing in its efforts to lure spin-off industry to Niagara Falls.

       The company also vows to bring to the city 500 jobs averaging more than $50,000 a year,

plus benefits. With the loss of so many manufacturing jobs in Niagara Falls, most recently in the

rapidly changing auto industry, that potential justifies the more than $25 million in state Empire

Development Zone benefits that might be used in this effort. This is one of the most generous

local subsidy packages granted to a company operating in Western New York. The company can

expect energy discounts up to $360,000 per job over the next 10 years, promulgate by the New

York Power Authority and Niagara County. Furthermore, on a short-term basis the company

will receive tax credits that would pay much, if not all of, of its state corporate taxes.

       Globe's power allocation will come from the Replacement Power Program, a block of

low-cost power reserved for companies located in Western New York. The Replacement Power

Program was preserved when NYPA' license to operate the Niagara Falls power plant was

renewed in 2007. Furthermore, ESD and NYPA created a package that provides Globe with 40

MW of hydropower over five years and up to $25,000,000 in Empire Zone benefits for up to ten


         This economic development package will advance the Governor's Renewable Energy

Task Force recommendations by developing incentives to attract clean energy industries to New

York. The hydropower used to produce solar grade silicon in turn will be used to create zero-

emission solar energy, a true "Green-to-Green" energy industry.

         Analysis of this deal must take into account the redevelopment of a brown field area and

potential for business spin-off. With work and some luck in timing, this project could become a

major step forward for a "green collar" job sector, an important piece in support of the plan.

         In that wider view, seeding the development of a new, environmentally friendly industry

in Western New York is a worthwhile investment.            The downturn in manufacturing jobs

continues to send the area and nation into a tailspin. The prospect of well-paying jobs with

benefits and reuse of an idle site is worth considering. Niagara Falls could use a "clean" catalyst.

                iv. Northern Ethanol

         Northern Ethanol, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Northern Ethanol, Inc., has

announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire a 70-acre site from Praxair, Inc in

Niagara Falls on which it will locate its Niagara Falls, NY ethanol plant. The property is well

served by CSX Rail, St. Lawrence Seaway dockage, adjacent interstate highway and abundant

low cost water and other services.

        In May, the Niagara Falls Ethanol project was approved for 9,000 kilowatts of low-cost

hydroelectric power from the New York Power Authority, with a saving of approximately $35

million over the life of the contract.

        Northern Ethanol, LLC, is a public registrant under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934,

as amended. The company’s objective is to become a low cost leader in the production of

ethanol and its co-products in industrial zoned areas. The company’s initial goal is to construct

three ethanol production facilities in Sarnia, Barrie, Ontario and Niagara Falls, New York each

producing 400 million liters of ethanol per annum. Northern Ethanol management has stated that

they believe the close proximity of Niagara Falls to the Central Canadian and North Eastern US

markets will provide the company with significant competitive advantages over other ethanol

producers who must incur the costs of delivering ethanol from significant distances.

        Some of the apparent risks and uncertainties regarding Northern Ethanol include the

Company's ability to grow its business. Other potential risks and uncertainties include, among

others, the Company's limited financial resources, domestic or global economic conditions,

especially those relating to Canada, activities of competitors and the presence of new or

additional competition, and changes in Federal or State laws and conditions of equity markets.

            c. Tourism

        Niagara Falls has ten to twelve million visitors each year and is one of the top ten tourist

destinations.34   Current numbers indicate approximately 6 million tourists visit the city of

Niagara Falls annually, not including Casino patrons, whereas approximately 12 million visit

Niagara Falls, Canada.35 Niagara Falls, USA offers very little in the way of high-quality tourist

amenities and services, and a limited range of quality attractions, particularly for families. The

‘arrival experience’ and poor urban environment, with vacant sites, dilapidated buildings and

weeds growing in asphalt surfaces, discourages further exploration of the city. 36

       Recent attempts at revitalization move away from the city’s industrial past to embrace a

more-sustainable tourism-based economy.37 Hotels have been renovated and a casino built in an

effort to compete with the Canadian side of Niagara Falls.38 There are currently 42 hotels in the

city of Niagara Falls, 15 which are within one-half mile of the downtown area.39 The Seneca

Niagara Casino reports that it has 8 million visitors a year to its casino and hotel resort alone.40

According to figures prepared by Smith Travel Research for the Niagara Tourism and

Convention Corporation, overall tourism figures are up from 2007. 41 In 2007, tourism generated

almost $30 million in revenue. Estimates for 2008 project tourism revenue to surpass $38

million. Demands for hotels and lodging have increased almost ten percent since 2007. A

current goal is to have a minimum of 1,500 quality rooms in the downtown area. 42 In addition to

the second hotel under construction at the Seneca Niagara Casino, plans are underway to

renovate the historic Hotel Niagara. Aside from the increase in the number of rooms available,

the new owners of Hotel Niagara plant to open a four-star restaurant, restore the ballroom, add

boutique shops, and build a spa and fitness center.43

       Current tourist attractions on the American side include structured tours, the Castellani

Art Museum at the Falls, Goat Island, Cave of the Winds, Maid of the Mist, and the Niagara

Falls Aquarium.44 Also available are helicopter rides and the Gorge Discovery Center. Further

up the river are Old Fort Niagara and the Whirlpool Jet Tours. During last year’s off-season,

three major family-orientated within walking distance to Niagara Falls permanently closed: the

Niagara Aerospace Museum (which is relocating to Buffalo), the Flight of Angels balloon ride,

and the family fun center in the old Wintergarden.45

       There are many proposed tourism plans aimed at bringing a diverse population back to

Niagara Falls. However, not everyone wants a carnival-like atmosphere similar to the Canadian

side.46 There is increased demand for family-orientated activities.47 Attractions within walking

distance to the Falls have come and gone during the last decade, with larger projects failing to

deliver.48 Mark Thomas, director of the Western District of the State Office of Parks, Recreation

and Historic Preservation advocates for a better transportation system to connect tourists with

other regional attractions, such as Old Fort Niagara, Artpark, the Lockport Locks, the Wine trail,

and shopping at the Fashion Outlets.49        Niagara Falls officials want to avoid copying the

Canadian side, instead capitalizing and enhancing the natural setting of the Falls50 and

showcasing the rich heritage in the area.51

       A major plan is the Niagara Experience Center. The NEC will be a state-of-the-art

entertainment media center combined with custom interactive exhibit technologies, immersive

environmental design and the timelessness of masterful storytelling to introduce visitors to the

events, people and natural forces behind the legendary place that is Niagara Falls. 52 The building

will have a “green roof,” with gardens, interpretive exhibits and a panoramic view of the Falls

and surrounding park. Exhibits will include the Brink, the Gorge, Wild Niagara!, the Niagara

Adventure, and Nature’s Glory. Each exhibit will show the falls from a unique perspective

unavailable in real life. The Niagara Experience Center is envisioned as part of a larger Niagara

Falls Heritage Park, which supporters hope will transform the underutilized commercial area

adjacent to the Niagara Falls State Park into an attractive, world-class resort destination.53 In

addition to the NEC, the long-range vision for the Niagara Falls Heritage Park includes two

additional “anchors”: the Niagara Lodge, a themed lodge hotel; and an Events Park, featuring a

performance pavilion and a show lake. The goal of the project is to offer an interactive transition

from the natural setting of the Falls into the downtown area, however plans have been slow to


        Plans are also in the works to create a museum dedicated to the Underground Railroad,

the region’s second permanent exhibit on the Underground Railroad.55 The first one opened in

2006 in the Castellani Art Museum at Niagara University. The hope is the museum would serve

as a gateway from the old suspension bridge at the Whirlpool Bridge to a cultural district on

Main Street. Given its secretive nature, there is nothing at the Whirlpool Bridge to signify a

suspension bridge was ever there and officials hope to create a marker or statute near the base of

the bridge to memorialize the spot. The museum would be part of an estimated $33 million

project to turn the vacant U.S. Customs House into a new passenger rail station. 56 The goal is to

create a focal point with activities geared toward travelers.

        The Seneca Nation is also in the process of building a golf course a few miles from

downtown in an attempt to draw golfers from around the world.57 The Robert Trent Jones II

design is scheduled to open in 2009.58 It is estimated that more than 4,000 patrons from across

the northeast, Midwest and Canada will travel to Hickory Stick Golf Club in its first year of

operation alone, making the course a useful tool for the region's tourism industry.59 Not only

will this project serve as a tourism destination in and of itself, the hope is that it will also provide

visitors already here a reason to stay longer and a reason to come back and visit again. The

project will create 44 new jobs, with an approximate payroll of $1.4 million. Hickory Stick Golf

Club will generate an estimated $250,000 - $312,000 in property tax and more than $388,000 is

sales tax in its initial year of operation alone. The total economic impact from construction will

range between $11 million and $23 million, while the first year of operation will provide an

estimated economic impact of $4.3 million.60

        Summer concert series have seen great success in the surrounding Niagara Falls area.

This past summer Niagara Falls joined the bandwagon, hosting 47 similar events throughout the

city between April and November.61 Free concerts were held every Wednesday, Friday and

Sunday. Larger events included two blues festivals, a jazz reunion, the Freedom Trail Festival,

and an Eddie Money concert. The area is ideal for such concerts, as the people are already there

and it is just a matter of getting them to remain for a little bit longer.62

        Another boost to the tourism economy in Niagara Falls has been the Conference Center at

Niagara Falls. Events at the Conference Center have doubled since 2004 and expectations have

the Center hosting more than 300 events this year.63 Despite this promising projection, there are

still not enough hotel room or attractions in the city to fully tap into the conference market.

            d. Impact of Casino

        Legalized gambling/gaming has become a prominent economic and social issue. It has

been characterized as the “most significant phenomenon affecting the tourist industry of this

country,” and readily able to change a community’s business climate.64 While some emphasize

that gambling is highly profitable, others have pointed out that, at the same time, it represents “a

highly regressive industrial policy”65 or “a repeated failure of national urban policy.”66 Still

others have stated that its “reputation as a panacea for prosperity is exaggerated.”67

                        i. Socio-Economic Impact

        Socio-economic impacts tend to be somewhat specific to the type of gambling

introduced. Not all gambling formats are alike. Evidence suggests that the various forms of

gambling produce different types and levels of socio-economic impacts.68 Gaming machines

have tended to generate more revenues, but also tend to be associated with increased social

problems. Likewise, each of the three distinct types of casino-style gambling identified by

Eadington (1998) have different implications. The three styles are destination resort casinos in

rural or remote areas, urban casinos, and widespread placement of gaming devices in specified

locations throughout cities and communities.

       Destination resort casinos are most commonly associated with cities such as Las Vegas

and Atlantic City. They tend to be strongest at job creation and at mitigating the negative local

social consequences associated with gambling. The literature indicates that these casinos have

their most pronounced economic development effects in natural tourism areas that generate a

large volume of business from outside of their own regions.69

       Many urban casinos operate as monopolies in their local market and therefore produce

high profit rates and strong economic performance.70 However, they are more likely to create a

monetary loss in the local economy.71 Job creation and economic developments are less for

urban casinos that their destination resort casino counterparts.

       Gaming devices have quite different economic impacts from those of casinos. Slot

machines and other electronic gaming machines positioned outside of casinos tend to create

relatively few new jobs and fewer economic spin-offs.72 They are, however, able to raise

substantial tax revenues for governments as the devices can provide greater access to gaming and

low operating costs.73

                       ii. Reported Socio-Economic Impacts

                               a. Employment Impacts

       The question of how the introduction of casino gambling affects job creation and

employment is the subject of some debate. Studies suggest that there are often employment

gains.74 Not surprisingly, the greatest and most unambiguous employment benefits tend to occur

in depressed or struggling areas (e.g., Aboriginal Reserves) where unemployment rates are high 75

although employment growth may be volatile.76 Casinos that draw labor from outside of the

local area, however, leave local employment conditions unchanged if this labor does not

relocate.77 The wages of these out-of-jurisdiction employees may also be spent outside the

region, resulting in a net outflow of money.

       Banks (2002) and others have pointed out that gambling often does not create new jobs.78

Existing jobs in retail, entertainment and food service sectors of the economy are often displaced

by the gambling industry as spending patterns shift to casino gambling. Furthermore, it is

important to note that these new casino jobs are typically low skilled and low paid compared to

some of the jobs they are displacing.79 On the other hand, job losses in one sector may be offset

by gains in industries such as construction, tourism, transportation, and public utilities.80 A flaw

in much of this empirical work is that it fails to establish what employment levels would have

been in the absence of casinos.81

       When net new jobs are actually created, the additional wages of employees have positive

spin-offs in the local economy as well as in increased tax revenue. Employment for the

unemployed also has obvious social benefits for the employee and his/her family.

                                b. Industry Impacts

        Many of the impacts on employment mirror the impact on industry more generally.

Many casinos offer hotels, restaurants, and retail outlets in addition to their traditional gambling

activities. These amenities and actual casino gambling spending are in potential competition for

the consumer dollar with other forms of gaming, hospitality, and retail businesses located in the

vicinity of the casino. A displacement effect is described by Eadington (1998, p.5) as occurring

when consumers substitute their spending from one local sector to another. However, this type

of displacement or cannibalization is not necessarily a bad thing. It is a normal feature of a

flexible economy that is responsive to the changing desires of consumers. A shift from less to

more preferred goods and services can contribute to economic growth as resources flow

to their highest-valued uses.82 Economic development occurs if the new activity results in

something of greater value than what it is replacing (e.g., higher profits, higher wages, higher

property values).83

        It must also be realized that while casinos can negatively impact certain businesses, there

is evidence that they may also benefit others. These include tourist-oriented businesses (e.g.,

sightseeing tours), transportation (e.g., taxi, car rental), the hospitality industry (hotels,

restaurants, lounges), and the construction industry.84 It must also be realized that if a casino is

placed in an underserved area without a lot of competing businesses (e.g., Aboriginal reserve)

then this initiative may spur the creation of complementary services.

        Specific case studies indicate that casino-style gambling appears to have a particular

impact on revenues and employment of other gambling sectors such as horseracing and bingo.85

In the case of horseracing, a common response to the competition of casinos has been for the

industry to bring electronic gaming machines to the track and to seek reductions in pari-mutuel


           Grinols & Ormorov (1996) found that casinos are associated with a drop in general

merchandise and miscellaneous retail and wholesale trade within 10 miles of the casino based on

tax receipt data collected by the State of Illinois (p. 11). In contrast, automotive and filling

station sales showed a significant gain, with mixed results in other sectors. A Minnesota study

found that business volume fell at restaurants located within a 30-mile radius of casinos with

food service.87 A Missouri study provides evidence of substitution between gambling and other

businesses but only in the entertainment and amusement sector.88 Similar studies also reported

the number of retail businesses in both large and small communities had declined drastically

after casinos opened.89 Grinols (2004) has provided some guidance concerning the geographic

range of these impacts for non-destination casinos by calculating the typical expenditure per

patron as a function of frequency of visitation and casino distance. He estimates that revenue

falls by about 30 to 35 percent when the distance from the casino is doubled. Thus, roughly 80%

of the expenditure comes from 15 miles, 85% from 35 miles and 90% from 55 miles.

                                 c. Gambling Establishment Patronage

           It is also very important to understand the origin of gaming establishment patronage.

Gaming establishments that draw a significant portion of their patronage from outside the

jurisdiction are more likely to be drawing new money and wealth to the community rather than

redirecting money from other local businesses.90 Eadington (1995) observes that casinos tend to

have the greatest beneficial economic impact when they are located in natural tourist areas with

existing tourist infrastructures. Some people go as far as arguing that unless gambling venues

draw a substantial portion of their wagers from outside the local market, there can be little net

economic stimulation.91

        The other major benefit of outside money is that the social problems created by gambling

go home with the tourist, rather than impacting the local social service and health care system.

High rates of non-resident patronage are characteristic of Las Vegas casinos as well as certain

Native-owned casinos in the United States. The Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun in Connecticut

have produced spectacular financial results for their bands by attracting gambling day-trippers

from neighboring urban centers where casinos are not allowed. It should be noted, however, that

many Native casinos do not create large profits either because they do not have a market

monopoly or because they are located to far from large cities.92

        In a similar fashion, new gaming establishments that entice local gamblers to spend their

money in a local casino rather than an outside casino are retaining new money. This is not

always a straightforward relationship, however. A study by Hunsaker in 2001 found that

consumers who gambled at local riverboat casinos were more likely to visit actual destination

casino resorts in the future.

                        d. Casino Spin-off Impacts

        Researchers typically use economic multipliers to represent the spin-off impacts that a

casino can provide for a community when gaming revenues come from outside the community.93

These indirect impacts on the local economy consist of things such as secondary employment

created in the community by casino industry spending on wages and services. Researchers

generally do not create their own multipliers and commonly use multipliers already calculated by

other sources such as IMPLAN or RIMS II.94 However, as more locations offer casino

gambling, more and more markets will become predominantly local or regional markets. Thus,

the multiplier effects derived from the exportation of gambling services will diminish and be

replaced by local consumption.95 This has led to some researchers concluding that the benefits

of economic multipliers are often overstated.96

       The purchase of supplies is often neglected in socio-economic studies. Gaming

establishments spend significant amounts of money on food, liquor, entertainment, furniture and

gaming supplies. Gaming machines themselves cost tens of thousands of dollars each and

typically require replacement every few years. Supplies purchased locally are beneficial to the

local economy. Supplies purchased outside the jurisdiction result in a net outflow of money.

       The disposition of gaming profits is rarely considered in impact studies. However, the

reality is that many casino owners reside outside the jurisdiction and reinvest a significant

portion of their gaming profits in business ventures that are also outside the jurisdiction.

                       e. Attitudinal Impacts

       Gambling is a value-laden activity. Not all individuals or groups support gambling as a

legitimate consumer activity and some would consider it immoral and potentially a corrupting

influence on society.97 Some people also question whether government-sponsored gambling is

compatible with the government mandate to serve the people. They point to the fact that: a) the

introduction of gaming can negatively impact the revenues of private industry and, b) between

one-quarter and one-third of gaming revenue comes from problem gamblers.98 On the other

hand, others argue that gambling revenue is essentially a form of evolutionary taxation, which is

preferable to mandatory taxation, especially if it allows for a reduction in the latter.99 However,

this may also be a form of regressive taxation if casino patronage is disproportionately from

lower socioeconomic classes.

        The impact of casino gambling on people’s attitudes does not appear to be uniform

between or within communities. For example, individual responses to casino gambling survey

questions vary both by community and by position within the community.100 Results from the

majority of research studies seem to suggest that casino gambling has a neutral effect on the

attitudes of most citizens.101

        Overall, economic-related indicators are largely perceived positively and crime and

problem gambling-related indicators were perceived negatively. A study by Perdue, Long and

Kang (1999) described an initial negative change in perceptions of quality of life as the

community experienced the transitional stress of rapid casino development followed by positive

change as the community and its residents adapted to their new situation. In a study by Govoni,

Frisch, Rupcich, & Getty (1998), community approval rose during the one-year period after the

casinos opening. When viewed over periods of five or more years, resident support of legalized

gambling and tourism development declined.102

                        f. Criminal Justice Impacts

        It is reported, that casinos and horse racing tracks are susceptible to crime occurrences

such as counterfeit currency, credit card crimes, thefts, assaults and disruptive behavior, and

money laundering.103 An increase in such crimes could lead to impacts on policing, legal, and

incarceration costs for communities.104 A major problem with the reported statistics on crime

and gambling is how they are calculated. Tracking systems generally do not collect data on the

specific causes of these incidents.105 Such ambiguity makes arriving at a conclusion on whether

casinos cause crime virtually impossible.106

        Current evidence from the literature suggests that presence of legalized casino-style

gambling in a community does not inevitably increase crime rates upon its introduction107 but

this relationship is still poorly understood. Several studies found that crime levels were higher in

casino communities and surrounding jurisdictions.108 Others report that they were lower and

public safety actually improved.109 It is still unclear whether casino gambling behavior produces

increases in crime or whether crime increases are simply the product of huge increases in tourist

visits.110 The significant growth in crime rates in Tunica, Mississippi was thought be at least

partially a result of the growth of transient casino visitors.111

        In their analysis of crime and gambling, Smith and Wynne (1999) determined that the

expansion of legalized gambling had a dampening effect on certain illegal gambling formats, a

negligible influence on others, and occasionally stimulated the growth of illegal gambling. In a

study of the two New Zealand casinos, their opening led to the closure of illegal card games and

underground casinos.112 Little longitudinal evidence is available discussing long-term criminal

justice system impacts related to the casino gambling industry. It is speculated that the number

of problem gamblers will increase with time and the costs associated with the gambling industry

will also rise.113

                        g. Health Care Cost Impacts

        Problem gambling is a disorder that affects only a small proportion of the population but

it can have huge impacts on affected individuals and on communities.114 Actually, attributing

problem gambling impacts to the act of casino gambling is difficult because: a) most problem

gamblers engage in a wide variety of gambling activities and, b) many of the individuals who

suffer from a gambling disorder also suffer from several other co-morbid disorders such as

substance abuse (especially alcoholism) and mental health problems (especially depression).115

        The introduction of casino gambling can have impacts on health care services if this

introduction leads to a direct increase in the amount of problem gambling-treatment. The

provision of treatment leads to costs imposed on residents who are gamblers and non- gamblers


        There is a great deal of difficulty in determining the extent to which problem gambling is

increased by the legalization of casinos117 and if this increase stimulates a demand for increased

treatment services. Studies have used various indicators to determine changes in problem

gambling rates after the introduction of a casino to a community. Toneatto, Ferguson, and

Brennan (2003) found the introduction of a new casino in the community increased the SOGS

(South Oaks Gambling Screen) scores for subjects who gambled most frequently on such casino-

related gaming as slot machines, cards, and casino games. In a separate study, Lester (1994)

established an association between the opportunity to gamble at casinos and a greater per capita

increase in Gamblers Anonymous chapters. More recently, Jacques, Ladouceur, and Ferland

(2000) found that, as opportunities for casino gambling become available in a community, there

was increased participation rates and spending on casino gambling by local citizens.

            In addition to increased spending on gambling, Room, Turner, and Ialomiteanu (1999)

found that a casino's opening brought an increase in reported gambling problems. A study of

Casino Windsor’s one-year impact on the community revealed no significant changes in the rates

of problem and pathological gambling although the majority of this casino’s visitors were


       The other factor that impacts these costs are preventative measures (education, policy)

that a jurisdiction has in place to minimize the impact and incidence of problem gambling. Some

jurisdictions (e.g., Holland) are much more proactive in this regard than others (e.g., United

States). Costs for publicity campaigns to raise awareness about problem gambling and research

funding to study the issue can be impacted with the introduction of a casino. It is inappropriate

to consider them as social costs or benefits as they are not inevitable consequences of casino-

style gambling although it is still useful to identify and quantify them.119

               iii. Costs to the Problem Gambler and his/her Family

       The definition of a problem gambler is that the person experiences significant problems

in some aspect of their life as a result of gambling.120 Each problem gambler usually had

negative impacts on several other people in his/her immediate social network. The most

common problems are financial, mental health, and conflicts with friends or family. The next

most common problems are work, school, health, and legal problems.121

       As discussed previously, it is difficult to isolate gambling as the only factor causing these

problems, because problem gamblers often have other co-morbid behavior disorders.122

Nonetheless, certain impacts seem clear. Problem gamblers commonly experience adverse

financial impacts resulting from gambling and commonly drain family savings, abuse credit

cards, write bad checks, and borrow money from family and friends.123

       According to the SMR Research Corporation, 2.5 to 10 percent of annual bankruptcy

filings in the United States have a gambling component.124 In their examination of this topic,

some researchers have found that the proximity of casino gambling does appear to be associated

with higher individual bankruptcy rates in local areas.125 In more comprehensive studies based

on detailed economic and social variables collected from 100 communities for the U.S. National

Gambling Impact Study Commission (NGISC), evidence does not support the hypothesis that the

introduction of gambling has impacted county bankruptcy rates.126

       The NGISC study did not report whether there was a cause-effect relationship between

gambling and bankruptcy for the general population but found that a higher percentage of

pathological gamblers had filed bankruptcy than others in the general population.127 It is

speculated that as the gambling industry matures in a region, the number of problem gamblers

will increase and the financial impacts associated with the gambling industry will also


       Depression and substance abuse are commonly associated with problem gambling.129 In

some instances problem gambling directly leads to substance abuse or depression. However, in

other cases substance abuse or depression leads to gambling (as a form of escape). Yet in other

cases a common vulnerability has led to all three. Additionally, while data on family problems

and suicide attempts may be available, tracking systems generally do not collect data on the

causes of these incidents, which make it difficult to establish a link to gambling. Nonetheless,

results from several U.S. studies determined that there was some correlation between the number

of suicides and the presence of casinos.130

       Negative family impacts are common with problem gambling. The problems

experienced by the gambler usually have a direct or indirect impact on the family (financial

losses, employment problems, legal problems, psychological problems, child neglect). Research

conducted for the National Gambling Impact Study Commission in the United States found that

54% of pathological gamblers reported having been divorced, whereas only 18% of the non-

gamblers were divorced. In addition, there is inter-generational modeling impact in the fact that

a significant percentage of problem gamblers have a parent who was a problem gambler.131

       Problem gamblers frequently bring their problems to their place of employment. They

may experience a decrease in work productivity or fail to show up for work altogether.132 An

economic cost is incurred when a dismissed employee cannot be replaced from the ranks of the

unemployed or the dismissed employee draws from unemployment insurance or goes on

welfare.133 As with many other individual impacts of casino-style gambling, it is difficult to

isolate actual problem gambling impacts from other explanations of poor job-related


       Individuals and their families directly impacted by problem gambling may choose to

obtain medical treatment or counseling to treat this condition. If treatment is not funded by

society itself though government programs these costs are absorbed by the individual.

       Individuals are impacted when they are the victims of a crime perpetrated by casino

gamblers. Attribution of these crime-related impacts to the presence of casinos in a community

is the subject of much debate. Crimes such as theft or embezzlement that can be associated with

casino gambling come at the expense of individuals in the community as well as to society as a

whole. Victims of crime experience a personal monetary impact associated with the replacement

of their loss, as well an intangible psychic cost of being a crime victim.

               iv. Broader Short-term Negative Impacts

       A measurable negative impacts is the drain on public services, such as sewers and road

maintenance. More controversial are the costs of increased crime and crime prevention in casino

neighborhoods and even in adjacent communities.134 The cost of criminal activity or its

prevention, are significant, though the statistics do not look quite as bad when they are tourist

adjusted. Aside from the statistics is the generally held belief that casino operators realize that

street crime is bad for business and are strong supporters of local law enforcement and the

promotion of proper behavior on their premises.

       Other measurable economic costs relate to fluctuation in property values, which may

impose some costs just because of their uncertainty. Also higher property values lead to higher

property taxes, which may make it more difficult for small business renters (though not

necessarily for property owners).

       Negative impacts related to the economic carrying capacity of the region relative to the

size of the new casino. A prime example is Deadwood, South Dakota, where casinos overran the

downtown district and increased the demand for city services enormously, and generally

overheated the economy causing a rise in prices in many goods and services. Goodman (1994)

reports that such effects even hit relatively large population centers, such as Atlantic City, where

nurses quit their jobs to become cocktail waitresses at higher pay, thereby forcing closing of an

intensive care unit.

                       v. Broader Short-term Positive Economic Impacts

       Economists suggest placing a value on anything that expands the range of individual

choice. This is reflected in the price paid for participating in casino gambling. In addition,

gambling, as an activity with definite probabilities, provides an opportunity for people to practice

dealing with risk in a controlled setting. Prominent economists over the ages have emphasized

the importance of risk-taking activity in entrepreneurship (and hence in economic growth), so

there may be some positive, though probably unmeasurable, impacts here.

                       vi. Longer-term Economic Impacts

       No research has documented longer-term negative economic impacts of sustained casino

operation, and Las Vegas and Atlantic City are testaments to generally positive outcomes,

including diversification of the economy in the case of the former. I. N. Rose (1996) is still

critical of Atlantic City, in essence for not becoming a shining example of urban redevelopment,

but there is no guarantee that any other strategy would have been superior to gambling.

To what extent can all of this be generalized to the smaller subsequent experiences? Given the

long-run payoffs of relatively high investment in education, infrastructure, and redevelopment of

casino operations versus a comparably sized factory (due to government spending of relatively

higher taxes), there is every indication that the long-run impacts will be positive. Even if casino

gambling fails, there is no indication that an already depressed area would be any worse off.

                       vii. Casino Employment Development

       Some believe that casinos are a good example of what is wrong with job creation in the

country today. Their jobs have been characterized by Grinols (1995) and others as low-skill,

low-paying service opportunities. For example, a WEFA (1997) study indicated that only 12%

of the jobs at Foxwoods were executive/managerial, and the remainder fell in the service

worker category. A Mississippi study135 found a 71% service worker proportion (well above the

national average) with an average hourly wage of $7.40 (well below the national average).

       Moreover, there is evidence that tips swing the balance to a higher than average pay for

some occupational groups. Independent researchers, casino operators, and unions are quick to

point out several other positive aspects. Walker (1998) has noted the strong wage growth among

casino workers, and that 83% of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International

Union had their health coverage paid in full (10 times the national average) and had pensions that

exceeded the national average. Coopers & Lybrand (1994) found a 63% level of healthcare

coverage among casino workers nationally, with 43% having access to daycare. Proponents also

note that casino jobs have been an excellent welfare to work example.

       A Minnesota study found a significant decrease in AFDC payments following the advent

of tribal gaming. Even if the skills learned are not high-level, permanent jobs enable people to

develop good work habits and work records. The key to the question is whether there are

opportunities for advancement within the industry or beyond. Finally, casino jobs are the only

immediate employment opportunity in some areas, especially the rural South, inner-cities, and

Indian reservations.

                       viii. Casino Impact on Distribution of Personal Income

       Not a single study to date has come close to providing a convincing answer to this

question, but some insight can be applied from related questions and anecdotal evidence. If

casinos offer jobs that would not otherwise be available, they reduce overall income

inequality.136 The movement in this direction is enforced if the wages are above average and

offset somewhat if they are below average. High profits, which usually only go to a small

number of individuals, raise income inequality, but, ironically, there is no effect on the host

region’s income distribution if the vast majority of profits go to owners living elsewhere (which

is often the case except for Indian gaming).

       Other determinants of the outcome pertain to who gambles and who pays the taxes, as

well as who receives the benefits from the public services the taxes support. The first aspect

varies considerably by location. Assuming patrons suffer losses on net (in addition to their

outright payments for admission, meals, parking, etc.), then a clientele with a higher than

average income helps reduce income inequality. However, there is a strong correlation between

low incomes and the proportion of resident gamblers, so within convenience gambling areas the

effect on income inequality is probably negative (relatively well-to-do tourists are not part of the

income distribution base of a region). Several studies137 have indicated that gambling taxes are

regressive. However, on the expenditure/benefit side, it would appear that distributional

implications are very positive, since in most jurisdictions taxes are earmarked for public

education, infrastructure, and economic development programs.

                       ix. Racial Distributional Implications of Casino Gambling

       Employment studies138 indicate good records in minority hiring, as well as the hiring of

women. However, racial/ethnic minorities (e.g., Hispanics), with the exception of Native

Americans, are not as likely to be sharing in the profits. The most obvious reflection on this

question pertains to Native Americans; as a whole they have benefited greatly relative to whites

and other groups, even though there is a sizable disparity among tribes. Deller and Chen (1996)

have found some negative impacts on reservations, though the successes overall far outweigh

these. For many tribes, casinos have been an economic salvation, and the gains have been spread

across all members in the form of trust funds, necessary services, and luxury goods. It is not

unusual for patrons exiting Native American casinos to remark, with some consolation, that they

“have helped repay the Indians.”

                       x. Tax Implications of Casino Gambling

       Casinos are subject to higher levels of taxation than are other enterprises in most

locations. Tax revenues are an enormous boon in Atlantic City where casinos provide 75% of

the property taxes, in Nevada where the proceeds eliminate the need for personal or corporate

income taxes, and in other jurisdictions where they have revived a moribund tax base. The relief

to other forms of taxation helps attract other industries into a region, all other factors being equal.

       The preponderance of evidence is that casinos more than pay for normal expenditures on

roads, police, and fire protection (though it is beyond the scope of the study to consider aspects

of broader social costs associated with gambling addiction, etc.). However, casnios have not

immediately always paid for initial “boomtown effects.” This can be remedied by better

government planning.

       If casino gambling is viable in a community on a long-term basis, there is no difference

from a fiscal standpoint in being a casino “company town” or an auto-manufacturing “company

town.” Several analysts, such as Goodman (1994), have expressed concerns of undue influence

that this provides for gambling interest. It appears that organized crime activity associated with

gambling has decreased over the years, so one of the negative connotations has been eased.

Moreover, any dominant employer will have undue political influence on a community. Casino

operators are, of course, businessmen, and it is bad business (for the core group in place) to

proliferate casinos in any locale. Even the gambling lobby nationally is limited by the extent of

the market, if not by even stronger opposition groups. Many studies have been performed on the

advantage of diversifying businesses for the sake of promoting a stable tax base, if not a more

stable regional economy as a whole. Some casino towns have in fact diversified, though most

have not.

   III. Food Security

       Food security refers to the availability and accessibility of food, especially fresh foods, to

people on a regular basis.139 For food to be truly accessible to families, it must be both

physically and economically attainable.140 Without a proper food source, families will be subject

to poor nutrition and hunger.

       There is only one grocery store within walking distance of Carolyn’s house. While the

Tops grocery store is only one mile from Carolyn’s house its presence and proximity alone does

not ensure food security for its surrounding areas.141 Walking a mile in the snow, especially with

children, is not always easy or safe. Walking a mile in the winters of Niagara Falls with a

week’s worth of groceries may not be physically possible. Therefore, for those without a car, or

for those who can no longer afford to keep gas in their car, even a close supermarket may not

lead to there being accessible food for families.

       Food security and food accessibility is important when considering the proper nutrition of

the people of Niagara Falls. Studies show that fresh fruits and vegetables can be kept, at most,

for two weeks when properly refrigerated. If not properly refrigerated, fruits and vegetables may

become inedible in days. Therefore, families that cannot access a grocery store on a regular

basis are almost certainly not gaining access to fresh foods.

       The cost of fresh fruits and vegetables can render them unaffordable to struggling

families in Niagara Falls. Especially when fruits are out of season or an irregular weather pattern

has ruined a large crop of vegetables, it may be common for a single piece of produce to cost one

dollar or more.142 Farmer’s markets, such as the one formerly located on Pine Ave, are able to

bring fruits and vegetables to families at nearly one-third the cost of grocery stores.143 While the

presence of farmer’s markets can make fresh produce more affordable to families, the hours and

declining draw of the farmer’s market deters working parents from shopping there.

       While it may not be possible for an urban garden to produce fresh fruits and vegetables

year round, the garden could serve a great purpose to all members of the surrounding

community. The garden’s produce will likely be sold at a comparable rate to the local Farmer’s

market, making its produce affordable to local residents. Also, because of its direct proximity to

the neighborhood, residents would be encouraged to shop frequently for its produce, helping to

ensure a daily stream of healthy, fresh foods would be nourishing each family. The produce of

the urban farm may also help to round out the diet of the residents by providing produce not

grown by local farmers or regularly sold at the grocery store, such as heirloom produce, which

perpetuates rare types of vegetables.

       An urban farm at Carolyn’s House will create food security for the neighborhood.

Within a short walking distance, fresh food will be available at a fraction of the cost of grocery

store prices. The food will also be safer because pesticides will not be used to grow the produce.

The constant availability to low-cost, fresh foods will ensure that families in the surrounding area

have nutritious, healthy food and will help to eradicate poor diet and even hunger.

   IV. Green Spaces

         Creating green spaces in Niagara Falls, such as an urban farm, is at first an unexpected

idea, but also one that the community will accept and embrace. Niagara Falls’ environmental

status is largely far from thriving and healthy. The Love Canal incident of 1970 and the exodus

of several large companies with factories in Niagara Falls left much of the city’s soil unable to

produce edible vegetation. So called “brown fields” are not rare in the city.144 However, while

much of that ecological damage will be hard to undo, the current mayor, a self-labeled

environmentalist, has recently outlined several environmental initiatives.145

       Many of the Mayor’s environmental initiatives will change the city’s reputation and make

it a “green city.”146 Creating an urban farm fits within this new set of environmental initiatives.

Creating a garden that is lush and producing fruits and vegetables that will nourish a

neighborhood in a city known for its pollution will help reverse Niagara Fall’s poor

environmental reputation. When Carolyn’s House is able to create value added products from

the farm’s produce, its enterprise will likely be a green industry. Therefore, creating an urban

garden, which can become a micro-industry by selling its produce and value added products,

furthers the specific goals outline in Mayor Dyster’s new environmental plan for Niagara Falls.

       While Niagara Falls does support its parks and has a few small local gardens, a green

space akin to an urban farm does not exist within the vicinity of Carolyn’s House. This space

would offer not only a source of nutrition to the neighborhood, but also a place for recreation and

a place for the community to come together. It is the goal of the Carolyn’s House board

members to create not only an urban farm, but also a place where children from the residence

and surrounding neighborhood can play. This recreational area will create a healthy, safe place

for children to exercise and spend time outside of school.147 The urban farm will also draw

people in and create a sense of community, as have the Farmer’s markets in the surrounding

areas for generations.

       Creating a green space in a neighborhood where down the road there are boarded up and

condemned houses will further the mayor’s plans to create a new, greener reputation for Niagara

Falls. The urban farm’s green space creates an accessible, affordable source of organic produce

as well as a recreational area for local children’s play. This green space will not only help to

revitalize Niagara Fall’s reputation of poor environmental landscape, but it will also revitalize

the surrounding community of Carolyn’s House, bringing it together in a mission which fights to

eliminate hunger, poor nutrition, and poor environment while it supports a highly respected

domestic violence shelter.

       An accounting of the civic funding given to Niagara Falls County shows that the there is

a great amount of support its existing green spaces. The Land and Water Conservation Fund

donated a generous $6,866,209 the Niagara County to help maintain their parks, thus far.148 This

was the second highest amount given to the Counties that reported their funds received from the

Land and Water Conservation Fund.149

   V. Attempts to Redress Poverty in Niagara Falls

       Niagara Falls’ current development strategy uses a pragmatic approach to revitalize

vacant and underutilized buildings for projects that will have a real economic impact.150 It places

a strong emphasis on the quality of the urban experience for both visitors to and residents of

Niagara Falls.151 The idea is to give the city a new life by opening up the waterfront, rebuilding

surrounding neighborhoods, and creating a cultural district. Despite efforts, the Strategic Plan

has yet to be ratified or approve by the Niagara Falls City Council.152

           a. Core City

       The Niagara Falls Strategic Plan focuses on what it calls the “Core City” and defines it as

the area loosely bounded by Portage Road, Whirlpool Bridge and the Niagara River but also

includes the lands east of John B. Daly Boulevard that are subject to the Development

Agreement between the City of Niagara Falls and Niagara Falls Redevelopment Corporation.153

       Carolyn’s House falls within this area. The Core City is targeted because it has the

greatest potential with regard to tourism development, residential and commercial intensification,

the provision and growth of regional services and amenities, including education, and the

creation of a more rich and diverse cultural and public realm.154 According to suggestions in the

Strategic Plan, Niagara Falls needs to address the imbalance between suburban growth and the

decline of the Core City through targeted policies and actions focused on making the Core City a

unique, high value and attractive place to developers, residents and visitors. Initiatives will focus

on enhancing quality of life, as well as providing incentive programs for positive change in the

city; re-configure suburban style offerings and amenities currently found in the Core City to

support a high-quality urban identity; offer and market unique elements and amenities not

available in suburban locations; and create and market a distinct and high-quality shopping


       The Core City Strategy consists of two main sections – the Big Moves and Core City

Precinct Strategies. The seven Big Moves were identified as the most critical to the future of the

city. They consist of reconnecting the city to the waterfront, creating a cultural district, initiating

public realm and catalyst projects in the Falls precinct, transforming the Niagara Street Precinct,

creating a new neighborhood in the Daly Boulevard Precinct, preserving the heritage of the Core

City, and housing renewal.156 The Core City Strategies are to be a set of overlapping initiatives

that address the city’s complex issues and problems in a comprehensive way. Many of the

strategies are strictly physical improvement projects, while others involve additional program or

policy recommendations to ensure implementation. Most will require new and innovative

partnerships between the municipality, community organizations, other levels of government,

and the business sector.157 The Strategic Master Plan has identified seven Precinct Strategies,

which outline recommendations specific to definable character areas within the Core City and

build upon their potential and unique qualities. The precincts include the Customs House and

Main Loft Precinct, the Middle Main Street Precinct, the Portage Precinct, the Pine Avenue

Precinct, the Third Street Precinct, the Wright Park Heritage District, the Buffalo Avenue

Heritage District, the Casino Precinct, and other lands subject to development agreement.158

           b. Pine Avenue Project

       Another progressive project in place in Niagara Falls is the Pine Avenue Project.159 The

Pine Avenue Project seeks to revitalize several parts of Niagara Falls and the south end of the

city, where Carolyn’s House is located, is one targeted location.160 This plan aims for the

revitalization of small businesses along main thoroughfares in Niagara Falls both present and

future.161 Hoping to draw on the large Italian-American population of Niagara Falls, this project

looks to improve the facades of businesses in the Little Italy section of the city. By making

improvements that benefit and celebrate a well-represented culture, Niagara Falls hopes to

increase business profits both from locals and from tourists who will be welcomed by the new


        In 2006, forty-six businesses closed on Pine Avenue alone.163 Today Niagara Falls’ Little

Italy is beginning to thrive with new businesses opening such as Gervasi’s Tavern, and The

Beacon.164 Popular chain stores including McDonald’s, Tim Horton’s, and Subway have also

recently opened stores on Pine Avenue.165 Cultural additions to the area may be coming to as

world-renowned Italian chef Walter Potenza is considering opening a culinary school there as


        While the Pine Avenue Project has made undeniable strides to bring thriving businesses

back to Little Italy, its economic success may not yet be stable. Recently, HSBC has closed its

Pine Avenue location. However, because of her past success at drawing businesses to the area,

Pine Avenue Project organizer Mary Jo Zacher remains optimistic that she will fill its location

with another bank.166

            c. Niagara University

        Niagara University (NU) has numerous on-going efforts targeted at the Niagara Falls

community. NU’s Learn and Serve Niagara Program provides over 60,000 hours of service

annually.167 Students are involved in projects ranging from working with domestic violence

victims to conducting historical research for non-profit agencies to providing tax preparation


        Another key program is the ReNU Niagara Community Outreach Partnership Centers

(COPC). The mission of ReNU Niagara is to improve the quality of life for Niagara Falls

residents by initiating and supporting targeted activities in partnership with community

leadership that address the urgent multidirectional urban problems of Community Capacity

Building, Economic Development and Employment, and Environmental Justice and Health

within Niagara Falls.169 Some of its current projects are a community garden program; a city

needs assessment, and entrepreneurial training.170

       Another NU-sponsored program is Weed and Seed. Weed and Seed is a community-

based initiative, which uses a multi-agency approach to law enforcement, crime prevention, and

community revitalization.171 The “weed” portion seeks to eliminate crime. “Seed” seeks to

restore neighborhoods with social, economic, and educational opportunities. These opportunities

include increasing awareness and understanding of economic investing, increasing startup and

existing business expansions, empowering block clubs, increasing home-ownership, and

reducing public eye-sores.172

           d. USA Niagara Development Corp.

       The USA Niagara Development Corp. was developed in 2003. It is a subsidiary of

Empire State Development Corporation. The program’s purpose is to support and promote

economic development initiatives in Niagara Falls by leveraging private investment and

encouraging growth and renewal of the tourism industry in the City of Niagara Falls.173 In its

first five years, USA Niagara has reconstructed Olds Falls Street, completed a similar makeover

of the Third Street Entertainment District, opened a state-owned conference center, and helped

with a major renovation of the Crowne Plaza Hotel.174 Future plans include a pedestrian mall to

create a more natural transition between the downtown core and Niagara Falls State Park and a

project to remove a large portion of the Robert Moses Parkway to open access to the

waterfront.175 Plans for the pedestrian mall include brick walkways and benches made from

recycled materials. The Parkway removal has been years in the making, as several groups have

debated the shrewdness of removing it. The hope is that with large sections of the Parkway

removed, access to the gorge and waterfront will spark increased visitation and waterfront


   IV. Rethinking and Revitalizing Niagara Falls

       Niagara has become a proactive city, now focused on realizing its weaknesses,

highlighting its strengths, and inventing itself. The city has created numerous projects and

initiatives to propel these objectives. One of the major projects to revitalize Niagara Falls is the

Rethinking Niagara project, also known as Revealing Niagara.176 This project has developed

five themes to focus its development efforts; the landscape, the bounty of nature, stories of war,

peace, and freedom, the wealth of the region, and enterprise in arts.177 Two of these themes, the

landscape of Niagara Falls and the bounty of Niagara Falls’ nature, will benefit by the creation of

an urban farm.

       The landscape of Niagara Falls, when taken as a whole, contains well-recognized natural

resources. Striving not to be dismissed as a city of brownfields, Niagara Falls seeks to reveal the

truth about its landscape through its focus on this theme. It dismisses Love Canal and the

abandoned factories as part of its past and focuses on the lasting, ever present natural resources

that surround Niagara Falls; the Niagara Escarpment, the Niagara River, the Gorge, and the Falls.

The creation of an urban farm and recreational space would be in keeping with this theme as its

creation and success will redefine Niagara Fall’s environmental identity.178 An urban farm in

Niagara Falls would also help to bring equity to the now disparate focus of Revealing Niagara, as

the projects objectives to better parks in the area and focus mainly on improvements in Niagara

Falls, Canada.179

        Revealing Niagara’s bounty of nature theme aims at redirecting the focus of the city to

visitors, this time from the loss of industry and declining economic status of the city to

highlighting its new and growing industries. This theme of the project also hopes to draw

tourists to Niagara Falls through its ethnic food festivals. Creating and sustaining an urban farm

will go to further this goal because it will create a new source of bountiful, locally grown foods.

An urban farm can also assist in letting families cook ethnically significant foods, which fits with

this theme’s desire to increase and support ethnic festivals.

         Creating opportunities for families to cook ethically significant foods with produce

grown in their neighborhood by virtue of Carolyn’s House’s urban farm will create for Niagara

Falls a new reputation for community grown foods, and ethnically rich neighborhoods. The

urban farm will also give a new face to the bounty of Niagara Falls’ nature; produce is grown

within the city limits instead of neighboring farmers bringing produce to a market or store.

  See,,_New_York, retrieved 2008/09/14.
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   See Niagara Falls Strategic Master Plan, Prepared By Urban Strategies Inc. for City of Niagara Falls Final Report.
August 2004.
   The actual number of visitors to Niagara Falls each year varies per report. See,,_New_York, retrieved 2008/09/14. See also, Niagara Falls, New York,
Tourism,, retrieved 2008/09/14.
   See Niagara Falls Strategic Master Plan, pg. 18.
   Id. at pg. 19.
   See,,_New_York, retrieved 2008/09/14.
   See,,_New_York, retrieved 2008/09/14.
   See, Niagara Falls, NY and Hotels,
retrieved 2008/11/08.
   Scanlon. “Four Niagara leaders…”, From Seneca Nation of Indians President Maurice A. John Sr.

   See Smith Travel Research, prepared for the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corporation, August 2008 figures,
prepared Sept. 22, 2008.
   Scanlon. “Four Niagara leaders…” see From Christopher Schoepflin, president of USA Niagara Development
   Gee, Denise Jewell. “Aid planned to help restore Hotel Niagara.” The Buffalo News, News Niagara Bureau,
   See Niagara Falls, New York, Tourism,,
retrieved 2008/09/14.
   Gee, Denise Jewell. “Tourists in Niagara Falls want more to experience.” The Buffalo News, News Niagara
Bureau. 200/07/06.
   Scanlon, Scott. “The Falls could use a lift: Reviving tourism at our Wonder of the World,” The Buffalo News,
Niagara County Bureau, 2008/06/25.
   Scanlon. “Four Niagara leaders…”, see From Mark W. Thomas, director of Western District of the State Office
of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation; see also From Niagara Falls Mayor Paul A. Dyster.
   Gee. “Tourists in Niagara Falls...”
   Scanlon. “Four Niagara leaders…”, see From Mark W. Thomas, director of Western District of the State Office
of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
   Scanlon. “Four Niagara leaders…”, see From Christopher Schoepflin, president of USA Niagara Development
   Gee. “Tourists in Niagara Falls...”
   See Niagara Experience Center,, retrieved 2008/11/09.
   Gee. “Tourists in Niagara Falls...”
   Gee, Denise Jewell. ”Can Harriet Tubman lure tourists?” The Buffalo News, News Niagara Bureau, 2008/09/28.
   Scanlon. “Four Niagara leaders…”, From Seneca Nation of Indians President Maurice A. John Sr.
   See Seneca Niagara Casino, Seneca Nation of Indians Breaks Ground for Championship Golf Course Project,, retrieved 2008/11/09.
    Gee, Denise Jewell. “Lots of music, less harmony.” The Buffalo News, News Niagara Bureau, 2008/09/07.
   Gee, Denise Jewell. “Conference trade rebounding in Niagara Falls.” The Buffalo News, News Niagara Bureau,
   Dimanche and Speyrer, 1996
   Goodman, 1995
   (Perniciario, 1995)
   (Jinkner-Lloyd, 1996)
   Collins & Lapsley, 2003
   (Room, Turner, & Ialomiteanu, 1999; Eadington, 1996; Ackerman, 1997)
   (Eadington, 1995; díHauteserre, 1998)
   (Gazel, 1998)
   (KPMG, 2002; Alcohol & Gaming Authority, 1998)
   (Eadington, 1998)
   (Garrett, 2004; McMillen, 1998; NORC, 1999; Snyder, 1999; KPMG, 1995)
   (PSGSC, 2000; Eadington, 1995; National Academy Press, 1999; Hall & Harmon, 1996)
   (Snyder, 1999)
   (Garrett, 2003; 2004)
   See also (Garrett, 2003; Grinols, 1994; 1996)
   (Marshall, 2001)
   (Browne & Kubasek, 1997; National Institute of Economic and Industry Research, 1997a)
   Grinols & Mustard, 2001; Taylor, Krepps, & Wang, 2000, p. 9

   (Walker, 1998)
   (Grinols, 2004)
   (KPMG 1995; 2002; NORC, 1999; McMillen, 1998)
    (KPMG, 1995; McMillen, 1998; National Institute of Economic and Industry Research, 1997a; NORC, 1999;
Murray, 1996; Rose, 1999)
   (Murray, 1996)
   (Anders, 1998)
   (Siegel & Anders, 1999)
   (Teske & Sur, 1991; Blevins & Jensen, 1998)
   (Grinols, 2004; McMillen, 1998; KPMG, 1995)
    (Eadington, 1996; McMillen, 1991)
   (Anders, 1998; Gonzales, 2003; Cozzetto, 1995; Henriksson & Lipsey, 1999)
   (Gazel, 1998)
   (Gazel, 1998)
   (Eadington, 1995)
   (Dubois, Loxley, & Wuttunee, 2002; Azmier, Kelley, & Todosichuk, 2001
   (Louishomme, 2003)
   (Williams & Wood, 2004a; 2004b)
   (Collins & Lapsley, 2003; Azmier, Kelley, & Todosichuk, 2001; Garrett, 2003)
    (Giacopassi, 1999)
    (Nichols, Stitt, & Giacopassi, 2002; Room, Turner, & Ialomiteanu, 1999; Roehl, 1999)
    (Hsu, 2000)
    (Smith, 2003)
    (Walker & Barnett, 1999)
    (GAO, 2000)
    (Browne & Kubasek, 1997)
    (Stitt, Nichols, & Giacopassi, 2003; Wilson, 2001; Miller & Schwartz, 1998; Curran & Scarpitti, 1991)
    (Friedman, Hakim, & Weinblatt, 1989; Gazel, Rickman, & Thompson, 2001)
    (KPMG, 1995, 2002; McMillen, 1998)
    (Stokowski, 1996)
    (Snyder, 1999)
    (McMillen, 1998)
    (Ryan & Speyrer, 1999)
    (Azmier, Kelley, & Todosichuk, 2001; NRC, 1999)
     (GAO, 2000; Australian Productivity Commission, 1999; Committee on the Social and Economic Impact of
Pathological Gambling, 1999; Crockford & el-Guebaly, 1998)
    (Grinols, 1995)
    (Eadington, 1999)
    (Govoni, Frisch, Rupcich, & Getty, 1998)
    (Collins & Lapsley, 2003)
    (Ferris & Wynne, 2001)
    (NRC, 1999)
    (GAO, 2000)
    (Azmier, Kelley, & Todosichuk, 2001; NRC, 1999)
    (SMR, 2001)
    (Goss & Morse, 2004; Barron, Staten, & Wilshusen, 2002; Nichols, Stitt, & Giacopassi, 2000)
    (de la Vina & Bernstein, 2002; NORC, 1999; GAO, 2000)
    (GAO, 2000
    (Ryan & Speyrer, 1999; McMillen, 1998
    (Crockford & el-Guebaly, 1998)
    (McCleary, Chew, Merrill, & Napolitano, 2002; Phillips, Welty, & Smith, 1997

    (NRC, 1999)
    (Thompson, Gazel & Rickman, 1999; Azmier, Kelley, & Todosichuk, 2001)
    (Collins & Lapsley, 2003)
    (Friedman et al., 1989)
    (Hill, 1994)
    (George et al. (1998) found that counties with casinos had unemployment rates two times the national average
and minority populations three times the national average.)
    (see, e.g., Gazel et al., 1996)
    e.g., Walker, 1998)
    Household Food Security: Concepts, Indicators, Measurements, Simon Maxwell, Thomas Frankfurter (1992)
available at, retrieved 2008/10/29.
    Id. at 5.
US:43.094398:-79.0569:city:Niagara+County/m::10:43.097213:-79.055969:0:::::/so:Grocery:::d::25:::::/e, retrieved
     This information gathered is from 2007-2008 unreported numbers of the cost per item of produce at various
Wegman’s grocery stores in upstate New York. These numbers were advertised as the sale price of the produce.
    Michelmore, Bill. “Market has Lost Some Shine.” The Buffalo News, News Niagara Bureau, 2008/10/12., retrieved 2008/10/26.
    See Mayor Paul Dyster’s Speech, available at, retrieved
    Taylor, Andrea et. al., Growing Up in the Inner City: Green Spaces as Places to Grow, Environment and
Behavior, Vol. 30, No. 1, 3-27 (1998).
    See Regional Knowledge Network,, retrieved 2008/10/06.
    See Regional Knowledge Network,, retrieved 2008/10/06.
    See,,_New_York, retrieved on 2008/09/14.
    See Niagara Falls Strategic Master Plan, Prepared By Urban Strategies Inc. for City of Niagara Falls Final
Report. August 2004.
     Phone conversation will Jill Shuey, Executive Director for ReNU Niagara Community Outreach Partnership
Center, on 2008/10/27.
    See Niagara Falls Strategic Master Plan, Prepared By Urban Strategies Inc. for City of Niagara Falls
Final Report. August 2004, page 2.
    See Niagara Falls Strategic Master Plan, Prepared By Urban Strategies Inc. for City of Niagara Falls
Final Report. August 2004, page 2.
    See Niagara Falls Strategic Master Plan, pg.9.
    Id. at pg. 37.
    Id. at pg. 38.
    Id. at pg. 37.
    See, retrieved on 2008/10/06.
    See, retrieved on 2008/09/28.
    See, retrieved on 2008/09/28.
    See Niagara Gazette: Pine Avenue: Fighting for Business, available at http://www.niagara-, retrieved on 2008/10/28.

    Telephone conversation with Adrienne Leibowitz, Niagara University Director of Sponsored Research and
Special Programs, on 2008/09/19.
    See Niagara University’s Learn and Serve,, retrieved on 2008/10/27.
    See Niagara University’s COPC,, retrieved on 2008/10/07.
    Leibowitz, 2008/09/19.
    See Niagara Falls Weed and Seed,, retrieved on 2008/10/27.
    See USA Niagara Development,, retrieved on 2008/11/08.
    Michelmore, Bill. “From the seventh floor, State sees heavenly possibilities.” The Buffalo News, News Niagara
Bureau. 2008/06/25.
    Rethinking Niagara, available at (accessed 11-01-08).
    Id. at 6.
    Id. at 23.
    Id. at 27.


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